Only a coherent set of policies can save Boris Johnson

The prospect of Boris Johnson becoming the first Prime Minister to be fined for breaking the law was always said to be the moment of greatest danger for his leadership. Yet it has happened and, despite the prospect of further fines, he has no intention of going anywhere.

Outside of a general election, his fate is in the hands of Conservative MPs. A few weeks ago, a head of steam was building on the backbenches that threatened his position.

But now that the police have issued at least the first fixed penalty notice for breaching the Covid lockdown rules the MPs have backed away.

Lord Wolfson, a justice minister, resigned over the matter last night. However, only one MP, Nigel Mills, the member for Amber Valley, has put his head above the parapet to declare a lack of confidence in the Prime Minister. Since 54 MPs are needed to trigger a vote on his leadership, Mr Johnson is safe for now despite the anger felt in the country over his breach of a law he forced on others. He needs to use the reprieve to focus on domestic policy. The portrayal of Mr Johnson by his Cabinet colleagues as a “war leader” is ridiculous as this country is not at war, though Britain’s support for Ukraine has been admirable and welcomed in Kyiv.

His survival depends on how his Government handles the biggest threat to living standards for decades, with inflation now at 7 per cent and rising, energy prices rocketing and growth stagnating. The local elections next month will be difficult for the Tories, who may even lose their flagship London boroughs of Wandsworth and Westminster.

Does Mr Johnson have a coherent set of policies to be delivered by a competent group of ministers or will he lurch from crisis to crisis until the next general election? The answers to those questions are likely to determine his future, not the parties.

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